By Annie Rhoades
Playing basketball in the WNBA is a dream for many athletes but a reality for few. For alumna Armintie Price-Herrington (BA 07), professional basketball player for the L.A. Sparks, years of practice, hard work and dedication turned a dream into reality.
“I never thought I would be where I am today,” said Herrington. “I had never even thought about picking up a basketball, so I can say I didn’t plan all of this out. I think every step of my life I’ve been in the right place at the right time; just being in the will of God and letting Him lead and guide me.”
Born in Milwaukee, Wis., Herrington and her family relocated to Cotton Plant, Miss., at an early age to care for her ailing grandmother.
“I started playing basketball there in the eighth grade,” said Herrington. “I’d never played ball in my life.”
At the urging of a friend Herrington signed up to play – a decision that would ultimately change the course of her life.
“My friend said she would be No. 23 and I would be No. 24,” Herrington said. “I thought, ‘okay great!’ She ended up being a cheerleader and I ended up continuing to play ball.”
Herrington played basketball throughout high school, earning a state championship win during her senior year, which ultimately led to college scholarship offers.
Luckily one of those offers came from Ole Miss.
“I think because I came from a small basically Division 1A school, nobody probably really looked at me,” Herrington said. “Coming from up North I didn’t know a lot about the SEC. I chose Ole Miss because it was close to home.”
After graduating from Myrtle High School in 2003, Herrington enrolled at Ole Miss the following fall with an initial interest in teaching.
“I really wanted to be a teacher, so I tried to major in education but couldn’t do the student teaching because of basketball,” Herrington said. “I changed my major to liberal arts with three minors in English, history and theater. At the time I thought I would probably get my master’s degree in one of those subjects and teach – but that hasn’t happened yet.”
Herrington excelled during her time playing for the Lady Rebels, leading the team to the NCAA Tournament three times. During her senior year the team earned a spot in the 2007 Elite Eight with Herrington receiving Kodak All-American honors.
Her success on the court caused those around her to take notice, and at the urging of then head coach Carol Ross (BAEd 82), Herrington entered the WNBA Draft in 2007.
“I didn’t know what to expect going into the draft,” Herrington said. “I was just happy I had the opportunity. When I was selected I remember thinking do they mean me? I thought I was in a dream.”
Herrington was selected a third pick in the first round of the 2007 draft by the WNBA’s Chicago Sky, playing two and a half seasons in Chicago where she was selected the 2007 WNBA Rookie of the Year.
She was traded to the Atlanta Dream in 2009 where she reunited with former Ole Miss head coach and then Dream assistant coach Carol Ross.
“That worked out perfect because she coached me in college, and then she had the opportunity again to coach me in pros,” Herrington said. “Coach Ross has been my mentor and like a mother to me ever since my mom went home to be with the Lord during my senior year in college. She’s someone I can always talk to.”
Herrington went on to play with the Dream for four seasons where the team earned spots in the finals each year. From 2009-12 she also served as assistant coach for the Ole Miss women’s basketball team. After becoming a free agent she joined the L.A. Sparks in 2014 to play once again for then head coach Carol Ross.
While Herrington’s professional basketball career has taken her all across the world, playing in Israel, Russia, Spain and Turkey, she describes herself as a homebody who loves spending time with her family, attending church and giving back to the university that has given her so much.
“If I had gone somewhere else, I really don’t know where I would be,” Herrington said. “I really appreciate everything Ole Miss has done for me. When I played there I wanted to make sure I didn’t let my scholarship go to waste or take it for granted. My pastor always says to whom much is given much is required. I tried to give everything I had every night out on the court to make the university and my coaches proud. Everywhere I go I’m proud to say that I am an Ole Miss Rebel.”